Touch screen kiosks for IKEA UK & Ireland

IKEA is the world's largest furniture retailer.  Founded in Sweden in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, the company's name is an acronym comprising the initials of Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up) and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, South Sweden).

As well as its modern designs, the company is known for the attention it gives to cost control, operational details and continuous product development.

The Requirements

IKEA's customer loyalty programme in the UK and Ireland is called IKEA FAMILY. Members are issued a card which entitles them to benefits including discounts on selected products and free tea and coffee.

IKEA FAMILY members interact with IKEA primarily through hundreds of dedicated in-store touch-screen kiosks. The software in these kiosks had become dated and was no longer fit for purpose so IKEA required a replacement system that could deliver new services and richer experiences for members.

The new system had to provide the following:

  • An attractive, easy to use user interface that allowed IKEA FAMILY members to avail of membership benefits, update their details, order new cards etc.
  • Integration with existing hardware including touch screens, swipe card readers and thermal printers, and IKEA's existing Customer Relationship Management system
  • Content management and administration features to allow staff to manage special offers across stores, events and competitions
  • Kiosk management features: screensavers, uptime monitoring, device tracking, security, automated alerts
  • Future proofing: the ability to deploy the system to new platforms such as tablets, and to support the roll out of new services in the future

The Solution

We delivered a suite of touch-optimised web applications that integrate tightly with an Internet Explorer browser client. The system was rolled out to hundreds of kiosks, in every IKEA store in the UK and Ireland. The system re-used IKEA's existing hardware, and successfully integrated with card readers, thermal printers and IKEA's CRM systems.

The new system allows FAMILY members to enjoy a new level of interaction with IKEA. It helps them take advantage of IKEA's offers, while also allowing IKEA to better understand their customers so that the brand can continue to innovate and serve their customers better - a win for all parties.

How we did it

First we held a number of scoping workshops in IKEA's head office in Wembley. This gave us an understanding of the requirements, roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder. We fulfilled one of our core values: clarity among all participants in the process.

We have refined our processes over ten years and they are instrumental in building trust, facilitating communication, and ultimately delivering value to our clients.

Based on the scoping workshops, we designed a solution that would fulfil all the requirements, including those for usability. We setup a test lab in our Dublin office with the necessary hardware to ensure everything was compatible with the existing hardware, and then started development.

We collaborated (usually remotely) with IKEA's Wembley-based IT department, Manchester-based CRM consultants, and Soho-based brand management agency to iterate the solution. This produced a result all parties were happy to roll out.

After a successful pilot phase, the system was rolled out nationally over a three day period. Customers immediately took advantage of the new functionality and ease of use of the new system.

The Future 

We continue to work with IKEA to quantify the success of the project, and build on it. Exciting new developments are planned for the system in IKEA Denmark.

Based on the success of the IKEA FAMILY project, Dovetail won further projects with IKEA, such as the IKEA Business microsite which allows small businesses to register with IKEA and gain access to special benefits.

We look forward to a long partnership working with IKEA in Ireland, the UK and Denmark.

IKEA Family Kiosk Screenshot
IKEA Family Kiosk Screenshot
Kiosk in IKEA Dublin Store
Kiosk in IKEA Dublin Store



Technologies used

HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, User experience design, Front end development, Web services, ASP.NET MVC, Windows Azure, SQL Azure, MultiQ Touch Screens, Star Micronics Thermal Printers.

Next steps

We continue to work with IKEA to evolve the system. Exciting new features are in the pipeline for the next 12 months.